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Things We Saw Today: “How to Explain Star Wars to Your Girlfriend”

A post that clocks in as a 23-minute read, titled “How to Explain Star Wars to Your Girlfriend,” assumes that the little lady desperately needs your help to understand all these confusing characters and spaceships (“it’s called the Millennium Falcon, by the way”?)

A tweet first alerted us to this:

The irony is that the rest of the article—past those first few paragraphs—is a comprehensive history of the Star Wars movies that would probably make for good reading for a newb to the universe. The problem is in the terrible framing device, and initial paragraphs like this:

She may find BB-8 adorable and her favourite character is Poe, but how do you explain to her why it’s so important that Han Solo and Chewbacca got back in that hokey old circular spaceship (it’s called the Millennium Falcon, by the way)?

So this imaginary girlfriend has already engaged with Star Wars enough to have a favorite character in Poe (that Oscar Isaac is so cute, the ladies love him). But she’s also waiting with baited breath to have all the rest of these really complex concepts laid out for her. “This has to be parody,” my friend said when I sent over the article. It’s not.

Had this simply not been gendered, it would really be fine. The post seems to be well-intentioned otherwise. “How to Explain Star Wars to Your Friend Who’s Never Seen A Star War Before” would’ve been great. It’s is a deep dive that takes you through the history of all the movies, written by someone who clearly loves Star Wars. But everything about needing to prepare your m’lady because “if you’re a hardcore Star Wars geek, it’s likely that your love won’t be complete until she understands your obsession,” wins the Olympic gold medal for mansplaining.

I put together an equally comprehensive guide for how to explain Star Wars to your clueless boyfriend/girlfriend/partner/person on the street/dog:

  • Don’t.
  • Assume that they are functionally capable of googling their own way to a deeper knowledge if they so desire.
  • If you are a writer, do not write sentences such as “Kylo Ren defeats Finn, but is somehow defeated by Rey.” Acknowledge that Rey is an incredibly powerful woman with raw untrained Force potential who grew up scraping by in a hardscrabble life that would make Ben Solo cry.
  • Don’t explain Star Wars to anyone unless they specifically say, out loud, “Help me understand Star Wars. What is a Chewbacca?”

(via, image: Disney)

  • Marvel’s new editor-in-chief C.B. Cebulski apologizes, yet again, for writing comics under an Asian pseudonym. (via Polygon)
  • A thoughtful essay by a reader trying to reconcile her love for The Mists of Avalon with the revelations of author Marion Zimmer Bradley’s abuse. (via Electric Lit)
  • K-Pop superstar Jonghyun, of Shinee, has died at the age of 27 in Seoul. (via The BBC)
  • The podcast “For A Bad Time Call” provides a hotline for women to anonymously vent into the “voice-rage-box.” Call 1-669-BAD-TIME if you have anything to get off your chest. (via The Verge)

That’s it from us, what’d you see today?

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Kaila Hale-Stern (she/her) is a content director, editor, and writer who has been working in digital media for more than fifteen years. She started at TMS in 2016. She loves to write about TV—especially science fiction, fantasy, and mystery shows—and movies, with an emphasis on Marvel. Talk to her about fandom, queer representation, and Captain Kirk. Kaila has written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.